Monday, May 24, 2010

OILHYPE: Aegis Oil Loves the Caribou

Who is Aegis Oil? The fictional oil company bad guys in 1994's On Deadly Ground, whose CEO (played by Michael Caine) personifies everything that's evil about the Big Awl bidness.

It's disappointing that a lot of what this movie was against 16 years ago has not changed. Keep in mind that 1994 was just 5 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but here we are today, facing what's quite possibly already the worst unintentional oil spill in human history: the Gulf of Mexico Oilpocalypse (consolidated Times-Picayune coverage).

For now, let's not get into the details of what happened, or the various implications of the accident, other than to point out one thing: the shortcuts taken by Aegis Oil in trying to get their rig operational and those taken by British Petroleum or its parters, Transocean and Halliburton (big surprise seeing that name involved in this, eh?) on the Deepwater Horizon involved the same device: a blowout preventer. Let's also ignore for the moment the pictures of a half-billion-dollar drilling rig on fire and sinking, or of the massive environmental damage the spill has already caused, or the toxic chemicals being used to keep the oil off the surface of the ocean.

Let's even ignore the corruption (sex, drugs, and rock & roll) at the US government bureau, the Minerals Management Service, that facilitated BP drilling this particular hole in the first place. Nor is it useful for the purposes of this article to learn that the MMS is still granting these permits, even though the President said there would be a moratorium on them and the associated "environmental waivers". It takes a lot to get the outrage meter pegged these days anyway, especially if you've been paying any attention to the ongoing rape of the little guy by global corporate interests.

Instead, why not have a look behind the scenes of an Aegis Oil public service commercial being filmed? This will be more instructive than any of the spin or hype you're likely to hear from anyone at BP:

Just keep that approach in mind the next time you hear something like this:
(AP) FOURCHON BEACH, La. — BP's chief executive said Monday that he had underestimated the possible environmental impact of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, walked along oil-soaked Fourchon Beach and said he had underestimated the possible environmental effects.

"I'm as devastated as you are by what I've seen here today," Hayward told reporters after he spoke with cleanup workers in white overalls and yellow boots, some shoveling oily sand into garbage cans. "We are going to do everything in our power to prevent any more oil from coming ashore, and we will clean every last drop up and we will remediate all of the environmental damage."
In the meantime, for something useful, have a look at the different data overlays in Google's special oil spill crisis response site. Because it's pretty clear now that the public isn't getting the full story of how much oil is washing up on the Gulf shores.

UPDATE: Things may be even worse than some people thought. See here. Also check this video, showing the "nightmare" effect of the dispersants:

As another diver said, "It’s death in the ocean from the top to the bottom."